VMWare vs. Virtual PC

posted on 11/28/05 at 10:36:43 pm by Joel Ross

I got a license for VMWare at Tech Ed this summer, and I even saw news of the free tool to convert VPC disks to VMWare disks, but never got around to trying out VMWare - until now. I had a need - I needed to be able to communicate with a USB device for my latest project, and Virtual PC doesn't support that yet.

So, I dug up my license for VMWare, downloaded and installed it. Then I took my base VPC image, and converted it over. Seemless. It took about 20-30 minutes and ate up my CPU to translate it, but other than that, it was painless.?I fired it up, and it worked without issue!

So, now I get to compare the two.

Let's start with what I like about Virtual PC over VMWare:

  • I like the keyboard shortcuts better. I know, that's minor, but I have a global shortcut for play/pause and next/previous for Windows Media Player, and the keyboard shortcuts work when Virtual PC has the focus. They don't work in VMWare.
  • Mouse positioning doesn't matter under Virtual PC. If the window has focus, you're working in the virtual machine. VMWare relies on where your mouse is - if?I move my mouse out of the window that VMWare is running in, then the focus (for things like Alt-Tab) is on the main machine, not the virtual one. I don't think I should have to worry about where my mouse is - if a window has focus, it should be teh controlling window.

Now, here's why VMWare is better than Virtual PC:

  • VMWare seems to outperforms Virtual PC. When I use Virtual PC and debug in visual studio, it seems to lag when I step through the code. With VMWare, there's not really a noticeable lag.
  • The keyboard shortcut to release focus of the virual machine is nice. Given that the global shortcut to pause WMP doesn't work, it's nice to be able to release focus and then Alt-Tab to it. I'm a keyboard guy so it's important to me to be able to quickly get from program to program, and VMWare allows me to do that. Virtual PC (at least that I can find) doesn't.
  • VMWare supports USB devices. Virtual PC has promised support in the future, but since the future isn't now, and I need USB support, well, VMWare wins.

Those are the things I've seen so far. I know there are other differences, but they are negligible. Overall right now, I'm happier with VMWare than Virtual PC, but I'm continuing to use both for now. The fact that I can convert a Virtual PC image to?a VMWare image is also very nice!

Categories: Software